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Auto blogTue, 29 Jul 2014 11:58:00 EST
What weighs 30,000 pounds? Big Ben's Westminster bell. A navy ship anchor. Or as we found out during our first drive program for the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty, seven pallets of cinder blocks loaded onto a dual-axle gooseneck trailer. The test was part of a raft of towing demonstrations that showcased the new Super Duty's impressive tug capacity, which maxes out at 32,100 pounds. That's 1,200 more than its nearest rival, the Ram 3500, when equipped with its upgraded 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. Such is the heavy-duty pickup truck business, a diesel-fueled game of one-upmanship with only three players: Ford, Chevrolet/GMC and Ram. And in this game, the one with the most torque wins.
Until 2014, Ford was the one to beat, with its 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel bringing 400 hp and a massive 800 lb-ft of torque to the table. Then last year, Ram did exactly that, serving Ford with a beefed-up Cummins turbodiesel inline-six in its freshened Ram Heavy Duty truck line with 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to tow up to 30,000 pounds. But Ford claims it had designed its engine to be relatively easy to upgrade when the time called for it, so for 2015, Ford bolted a larger turbo to the Power Stroke, bringing output to an insane 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of twist, all without reducing fuel efficiency. Maximum tow capacity rises from 24,700 lbs to an incredible 31,200 lbs for the F-450 dually.
As for GM's HDs? They lag behind the lot with their 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, producing 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, you know things are serious when the trucks with 765 lb-ft are the knock-kneed wimps of the lot.
This year more than most, it's pleasant when we can string together a few days without word of an automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announcing a bunch of new recalls. It's seemingly been a little quiet on this front lately (barring a spider-related Suzuki issue revealed early today), but now we have word of the government safety agency opening a Preliminary Evaluation into the 2013 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, a probe that could potentially affect an estimated 20,000 vehicles.
The issue being investigated concerns failures of the front brake hose on the vehicle that show "small splits in the hoses near the body side ferrule of the hose assembly," according to the agency, and the issue could result in longer stopping distances. The feds have reports of 13 malfunctions affecting 11 Explorer units. However, it's important to note that all of the incidents come from a single, unnamed metropolitan police fleet that operates 46 of them. According to The Detroit News, the failures generally took place between December and July.
NHTSA is investigating further to find if this is a more widespread issue than just this one fleet. Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker confirmed to us, "We are cooperating with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do." Scroll down to read the agency's report.
The arrival of a new Ford Mustang means many things to many people, but not least of them is drag racers. The pony car has always been a mainstay of the drag strip, and the Ford Racing team aims to carry that reputation forward with this latest generation. So it cooked up a few basic modifications on three new 'Stangs and headed to the strips at US 131 and Milan Dragway to see what they could coax out of 'em.
Impressively, the 5.0-liter V8 Mustang GT with a few modifications (but no forced induction) managed to clock a quarter-mile time of 11.77 seconds. Another Mustang GT fitted with a supercharger clocked a blistering 10.97 seconds. But just as intriguing was the modified EcoBoost model that, with only four cylinders and 2.3 liters of displacement, still passed the gates in just 12.56 seconds - nearly half a second better than expected. This with modification limited to a new subframe, half-shaft, drive shaft loops, exhaust, engine calibration, slicks, roll cage and bucket seat. Well done, boys.